The Good Wife I Thought I Was Before I Learned I Wasn’t

April 23, 2018 |
The good wife I thought I was, before I learned I wasn't...

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Did you know someone wrote a manual on how to be an “excellent wife?” I. Am. Serious. It’s called The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, and she levels up “how to be a good wife.”

Before you stop reading, let me say, this isn’t really about the book. It’s about the lousy job I was doing as a wife. Before reading the book, I thought I was an excellent wife. Whether or not my husband agreed was of little importance.

So, when someone recommended the book to me, I almost laughed. I’d been a wife for long time. Compared to a lot of wives I knew, I was a pretty good one. I cooked and cleaned. I took care of kids and stayed home. Heck, I could’ve written the book.

I Was A Good Wife …Or Was I?

God has a way of tugging at my heart when He wants to teach me something. I decided to read the book. Quite honestly, part of the reason I read the book was to confirm my excellentness. I felt pretty confident picking it up. It begins with Martha defining the role of a godly wife.

“The role of a godly wife is to glorify and submit to her husband.”

Uh oh… 

The “s” word was not popular in the circles I ran in early in my marriage. (It’s not popular in some of my circles now.) I’ve never been great at submission. (Okay, I stink). Sassiness, back talk, eye rolling, the silent treatment, withholding affection—what did that have to do with submission? Even with all that, I still thought I was a pretty good wife.

In the beginning of the book, Martha explains the challenges she faced early in her marriage. I could relate.

Maybe you can, too.

Women Rule vs …Submission?

I’d been a feminist. I wasn’t a card-carrying member of NOW (National Organization for Women), but I had a female superiority complex. And, submission, who does that?

Apparently there is more to being a good wife than cooking and cleaning...Okay. You’re probably getting the picture. Things weren’t rolling so smoothly. No one’s perfect.

Blame, animosity, resentment, and frustration were just a few of our issues.

It didn’t take long to figure out I was not as excellent as I’d thought. As I read the book and began to understand the role of a godly wife, I knew I could never be that kind of wife without some help. I also knew I’d be making a conscious decision to disobey God if I continued wife-ing as I’d been.

Becoming The Good Wife God Called Me To Be

Trying to be an excellent wife isn’t easy. It goes against everything society says I should be. Some days, I don’t even feel like trying. I’m tired. Life’s hard. Not to mention, some days I don’t feel like my husband’s behavior is deserving of an excellent wife. (I don’t always get excellent-ness back.) But Ephesians 5:33 tells me to respect my husband. It’s not conditional. It’s a command.

But, as unpopular as the ideas may be, the book is biblically sound. Martha’s not advocating being a doormat or treating your husband like a god. She says loving and knowing God gives us a desire and the strength to become more like Him. In doing so, I become more excellent as a wife.

Reading The Excellent Wife hurt. It dented my pride. I thought I had it all together, but I’d totally missed the mark. The book did change my marriage because it gave me a desire to change.

Am I perfect? Absolutely not. Not even close. I fail daily.

But God has placed a desire in me to want to be the kind of wife He wants me to be. Not excellent compared to others, but excellent by His standard.

Are You A Good Wife?

Have you ever thought about the wife God wants you to be? Is submission something you struggle with? Do you have any books for wives you would recommend? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!

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  • Reply Andrea April 23, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Sometimes I think all of us women struggle with expectations

  • Reply Heather Hart April 23, 2018 at 8:20 am

    I remember reviewing that book when it first came out. I still have it. I had already been studying how to be a biblical wife for a while, and I learned a lot during those years. I know my marriage is better for it.
    Heather Hart recently posted…Hope For When You Feel Emotionally Alone

    • Reply Sheila Qualls April 23, 2018 at 10:14 am

      It’s a great book. High standard but right on. I was the better for having read it, too.

  • Reply keisha russell April 23, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    We should all strive daily to be a Godly wife. That does not mean that we are perfect by any means, that just means that we try our very best. It is good to read books and seek wisdom and knowledge in these areas.

  • Reply Melissa April 23, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    God is currently asking me to take a look at my role as a wife and ensure my priorities are inline with where he wants them to be. With that understanding, God is telling me to put some of my dreams on hold to encourage, support, and lift up my husband in God’s path for him. And I’m really okay with it! It took a lot of prayer but I am.
    Melissa recently posted…The Armor of God: The Breastplate of Righteousness

    • Reply sheila April 24, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Agreed, Keisha!

      • Reply sheila April 24, 2018 at 6:25 pm

        I am glad to hear where you have landed. It is not easy to get to that place. We often ask God, “What is Your will for my life?” when we should be asking “What is Your will?” I believe we experience God in a new way when we re obedient.
        sheila recently posted…How Childhood Impacts Your Marriage

  • Reply Jaime Hampton April 24, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    I haven’t read that book, Sheila, but I’ve lived the story of feeling like I’m a great wife (and maybe even smugly feeling like I was a better wife than my husband was a husband), but then being challenged by God’s standards and realizing I had a long. loooooong way to go. And I still do. I think what your book probably hits on is that it’s all about glorifying God. That when we respect, elevate, or submit to our husbands it should be an act of worship to please God – nobody else. And that the way that looks in each home could be vastly different – and that’s okay, because it’s about a heart condition, not outward appearances. Thank you so much for this post. It was really timely for me, and I’m sure for many others!
    Jaime Hampton recently posted…Did we Miss the Boat? 5 things to keep in mind when leading a young child to Christ

    • Reply sheila April 24, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better myself, Jamie. Serving our husbands is an act of worship. And, it will look different from home to home. My “excellent” will not look like your excellent. The closer. we get to God, the more excellent we become. My site and Facebook page are now called The Not So Excellent Wife: Progress Not Perfection. : )
      sheila recently posted…How Childhood Impacts Your Marriage

  • Reply Karan Koon April 25, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    This does really make you stop and reconsider your role as a wife. Thought provoking. I appreciate that. Thanks for sharing.

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